Hybrid Share Review

very good
key review info
application features
  • File sharing
  • (3 more, see all...)

I don't know about you but as a Linux user, I've always had problems with transferring files between me and my friends who use different operating systems. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to say that Linux can't share files; it just doesn't offer an easy way to do it. For example, what do you do when you want to share some files with your friends? You can use one of the IM clients which support file transfer but chances are the transfer won't even start. Second option will be attaching the files to an email but you will only be allowed to send relatively small files due to email size limit. What's left then? FTP requires installing and configuring an FTP server, which is too much work, samba only works for sharing files inside a local network and other methods are just too complicated to even mention. Fortunately, there is a solution: Hybrid Share!

Hybrid Share is a rather new application which acts as an IM client but is mostly focused on file sharing. It's written in Mono C#/Gtk#, thus can run on Linux, Windows and Mac. Its interface is user-friendly and it's very easy to use; basically, you will only need to add new buddies, just as in an IM client, and drag files into their folders. Unfortunately, the installation process will give you a bit of a headache, unless you are, of course, using Ubuntu.

INSTALLATION

The downloads section on the official homepage provides several links for you to choose from, depending on your operating system. For Ubuntu users it's easy, they have a .deb package available which can be downloaded and installed with a few clicks. For other Linux distributions, there's a binary and a source code package available. However, from what I've noticed using a Fedora Core 6 system, the binary version is a bit unstable as I've got it to segfault a few times. Running out of options, I've downloaded the source code package and tried to install it. Here is what happened.

Before starting the installation, I made sure my system had all the required packages installed: Mono (mono-core, mono-data, mono-devel and mono-data-sqlite), Gtk (gtk-sharp2 and gtk-sharp2-devel), Glade (libglade2 and libglade2-devel) and of course, a compiler, GNU make, AutoConf and AutoMake. Next, I've started to compile and install all the packages provided by the source archive in this order: niry-sharp, hybrid-share-core, hybrid-share-plugins, hybrid-share. The first package installed flawlessly with:

$ cd niry-sharp
$ sh autogen.sh
$ make
$ sudo make install

As for the second, when I typed the same commands, I got an error saying it couldn't find NIRY_SHARP. I got passed that by running this command and re-running the commands above:

$ sudo cp /usr/local/lib/pkgconfig/niry-sharp.pc /usr/share/pkgconfig/

I've then moved on to hybrid-share-plugins where I faced a similar problem. Fixed with:

$ cp /usr/local/lib/pkgconfig/hybrid-share-plugin.pc /usr/share/pkgconfig/

After these errors, everything went smoothly. I started Hybrid Share by typing hybrid-share in a terminal.

INTERFACE

The first thing you'll notice when starting Hybrid Share for the first time is its resemblance to ordinary IM clients. It provides the log-in screen with username and password fields, two check boxes, Rememer password and Use secure authentication and two buttons: OK and Quit. If you check the Use secure authentication, you will need to register at a central server which will exchange the IP addresses automatically between clients. If you decide no to use secure auth when adding a new buddy, you'll have to manually enter his IP address as well. You will also need to enter a username (no registration required).

After logging-in, you'll see the main window. If you haven't used secure authentication, the monitor in the left will have a cracked lock next to it. This is just for informational purposes so don't panic. Now, you'll need to set yourself Online, using the Network menu. To add a new buddy, again, use the Network menu. Once you play around with it for a short while, you'll see it's quite straight-forward and easy to use. Using the buttons on the toolbar, you can view your shared folder(s), the transfer's status and even perform a search. Also, there's the Settings button which will popup a dialog, allowing you to change various preferences such as which port to listen to, shared directories and so on.

Hybrid Share is also extensible via Plugins. One of the plugins offered by default is the Talk plugin which allows you to chat with people about or while you're sending or receiving a file.

The Good

Hybrid Share is a cross-platform application designed to break the file sharing barriers between different operating systems. It can be installed on both Linux and Windows, as well as on Mac. It provides a clean, beautiful interface which is also easy to use and several other functions that will make file sharing a lot easier.

The Bad

This is a work-in-progress application and it might crash until the developer fixes all the bugs. Also, the sourceforge server used to generate new accounts has produced a few errors. Finally, it would have been nice if it supported other protocols as well (jabber, YM).

The Truth

If you are one of the people that had problems while trying to share some files among different operating systems, then Hybrid Share is the perfect application for you and your friends. You can also use it to transfer files from work, home and vice-versa if any other methods have failed.

Check out some screenshots below:

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user interface 4
features 4
ease of use 2
pricing / value 5


final rating 4
Editor's review
very good
 
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